Posted by / Category London /

Yesterday was a bad day! We woke up and were about to start the school run by running to the car, only to find out that the said car looked a bit funny. Actually, more than a bit. The front side was broken, with red traces all over. Then, we noticed a paper on the windscreen. No less than three passers-by had seen a C10 red bus hit our Chelsea tractor without stopping. They all had left their numbers. We spend some time dealing with insurance companies and, thanks to the lovely witnesses, the bus company has accepted liability (in writing, baby!). Now, I just have to wait for them to pick it up and repair it. Come to think of it, the whole episode was very rock’n’roll, true London style!
You have got to love the British kindness. In France, I would have been lucky to have one number. Come to think of it, I have had plenty of opportunities to see such kindness in action over here. My perception is that people are kinder this side of the Channel. I remember that, once, the school closed because of a burst pipe and by 8.15 am I had had 3 mums calling me to warn me and offering to babysit the little one. How cool is this?
Don’t get me wrong, over here too you get the occasional parasite; usually it’s someone who never does a thing and rely on you for the school run/pick up after parties/everything else without even offering to do anything at all in exchange. But it remains quite rare. Maybe I have just been lucky so far. I am glass-half-full sort of person. I am pleased that three kind-hearted persons helped us and I prefer not to think about the bus driver who didn’t even stop despite, as one witness put it ‘a dramatic bang’.
So, why are people kinder and, overall, more helpful? I simply don’t know. It is probably because in France, the state takes care of everything. There is less need for solidarity. Maybe it is because my attitude has changed: I can’t rely on my family to help me over here, and as a result I have to be more social and less shy. In London, in an emergency, people will always at least have a kind word and they will try to help in any way they can.
So, once again, a big thank you to the three lovely witnesses and to all the persons who have supported me over time!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I don’t know why it is, but the French are very proud of their independent spirit. Maybe they are more family/friend oriented – they’ll help out people they know rather than bother about kindness to a stranger.

    I was astounded by the kindness we received in Texas. My then French husband said we would never get such treatment in France in a similar situation.

    • Well, Sarah, I am not even sure that they will help someone they know…Just like you, I am astounded by the kindness I received abroad. Probably because the contrast with France is so huge!!!

  • I think it’s both your interaction with the community and the community itself…Because if we are routinely aloof, then the community feels no obligation to you either.
    Glad to hear the better ending!

    • Thanks! I agree with you, but in this case I had never ever seen those people! maybe it is a sign of the universe?

  • So pleased there was a silver lining (though sorry, of course, that you still have the hassle of getting the car repaired). I have to say, I think this is one of those heartwarming occasions when I can say this kindness is normal behaviour here. When (similar story) a coach bashed into our parked car, we had two notes from witnesses left under the windscreen wiper. It’s not a myth: we British do like to see fair play!

    • It’s not a myth and I like it so much that I am British now! I am not sure that the same would have happened in France…

  • Looks like you did have a great day after all.

    I feel its more about the feeling of community and helping out. Maybe genuinely nice people happened to be witnesses!

    • I was extremely lucky…for once! It is teh sort of things that wouldn’t happen in my home country!

  • What an amazing attitude, to be focused on the good samaritans rather than the dent on your car. 🙂

    • It is all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Anyway, it is not a big deal!

  • Sorry about your truck, even with insurance. More than a nuisance.

    Bought a Land Rover after seeing one demolish a double decker. Very good for teaching children to drive (used to get a licence at 15) and has had several collisions that enhance the appearance. Most recent when German tourist was looking wrong way and drove into it’s side – Japanese vehicle self destructed.

    • Love it! I absolutely need to buy a Land Rover now! That’s exactly what I needed for the bus! Shame mine is an Audi!